Monday, November 30, 2015

Phila city pension plan broke by 2015? Update

Northwestern U finance prof Josha Rauh says Philadelphia's pension plan is the worst-funded of 77 big-city plans he and his fellow scholars reviewed.

Phila city pension plan broke by 2015? Update


Just as Mayor Nutter is campaigning to freeze Philadelphia's expensive guaranteed police-fire-public worker pension plan and replace it with a no-guarantees savings-investment plan, a  study led by Joshua Rauh at Northwestern University rates Philadelphia's plan as the least-solvent of 77 big-city pension plans, and says it could run out of cash by 2015. Summary and link to report here Bloomberg story here.

Survey doesn't include Pittsburgh's plan, which was in even worse shape than Philly's, last we checked...

UPDATE: Rauh tells me the 2015 drop-dead date isn't guaranteed. It could happen that fast, IF U.S. investment markets flatten. Or IF city drastically cut pension "contribution" subsidies, which isn't in anybody's budget plan.

But even if the fund meets the city's targets, Rauh says the fund will still run down "in a few more years"; he thinks current city employees "need to be told" their payments are funding today's retiree checks, not setting aside money for their own.

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

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